Tempe

Henry Soza


By Jonathan Woo

The horrors of the Vietnam War remained so etched in his mind that for decades, Henry Soza Jr., continued to be haunted by what he had seen and heard.

As a U.S. Army Combat Medic supporting Troop B, 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), Soza saw more than his share of pain and death. His actions so distinguished Soza that he was twice awarded the Silver Star, one of the nation’s highest military decorations for valor, as well as a Bronze Star.

But the futility of the war drained him.

Joe M. Ruiz


By Darcy Keller

As a prisoner of war, Private Joe M. Ruiz narrowly escaped death at the end of World War II.

After a failed mission and a surprise encounter with the Japanese, Ruiz, who served with the 389th Coast Artillery Battalion of the 6th Army, was captured and taken to Kobe, Japan. As a prisoner, he endured beatings and starvation until the Red Cross rescued him after the war ended with the bombing of Nagasaki.

"It saved my life when they dropped those bombs in Nagasaki," Ruiz said. "When [the] Red Cross got me out, I was more dead than alive. I was 104 pounds."

Pete Moraga


By Yvonne Lim

Growing up in the segregated town of Tempe, Ariz., during the late 1930s, Peter "Pete" Moraga recalls feeling nervous about public speaking.

Despite those early fears, Moraga, a World War II Navy veteran who served in the Pacific, fashioned a life as a journalist that consistently affirmed "La Voz Mexicana," or "the Mexican voice.” He worked with government radio program Voice of America, CBS Radio and, finally, at a Spanish-language television station.